Happy Monday MTG peeps,
Wow what a weekend! At the 2014 World Championship, Shahar Shenhar secured his second consecutive win while the Danish Team came out on top in the finals over Greece to win the 2014 World Cup. Make sure to pop by the mothersite to catch up with the coverage from this weekend's events if you could not watch live due to work, school exams, whatever. Speaking of coverage, on Sunday of the 2014 Worlds Week coverage, Modern Masters 2015 Edition was revealed - see our post from yesterday on this.
Anywhoos, for today's post we are sitting down with the brilliant talent behind 'Cardboard Crack' - a comic about the World's most addictive game - Magic: the Gathering. There is little doubt about the additive quality of this our favourite game - we first started into this with a progression which may be familar with many - with friends giving us a bunch of terri-bad junk, buying our first sealed product (a Lorwyn Intro Pack from OMG! Games), to cherry-picking highly desirable singles from MTG Mint Card, resulting in a shelf in our games room groaning under the weight of cards. Righto - enough of us, let's talk to fella about our fav comic strip -
MTG Realm (MTG R) : So a little bit of background about hour - how did you, Magic: the Gathering, and illustration first collide ?
Cardboard-Crack (CC) : I started playing Magic around Ice Age, and have played on and off ever since. Most recently, I came back to Magic during Avacyn Restored, and I was mainly playing Magic Online because I have a family now. Although I was often having fun, it also didn't feel particularly rewarding without my friends to play with like when I played when I was younger. You make a mistake to lose a big game and then have no one to share your bad beat story with, and you start wondering what the point is.
I had long been a fan of comics and one day it just dawned on me that it would be fun to do Magic related comics. I was hoping that doing the comics would help give me that feeling of community that I was missing when just playing Magic Online. Now I've met so many people through the comics, and now via email, Twitter, and whatever, that I never would have met without the comic. It's really helped make Magic so much more rewarding for me.
MTG R : I concur - half the fun of MTG is about all the IRL shenanigans at the WPN store or kitchen table. Tell us about the when / where / hows of your first Cardboard Crack strip you shared with the interwebs. How was it received ?
CC : I was a little unsure about posting the comics online because I wasn't sure if I could find enough material to write about. In particular, most Magic comics I found online were more focused on the Vorthos (or flavor) aspects of the game, and I thought it would be interesting to write about the players' perspective. Things like recent news from big tournaments, anticipating new sets, or just getting together with your friends on a Friday night. So anyway I set one day aside, and just started drawing, and I think I had like 5 comics by the end of the day. This gave me the confidence to start posting them, in fact I think I posted 2 on my site the first day.
The reception has been overall positive. Of course there are detractors, but you have to expect that from the Internet. Also, Magic people tend to like to think critically about everything and pull things apart, even when they don't really mean anything bad by it. So that can require a tough skin. But yeah, most people have been amazing. You can really see this from the growth my site has had because so many people have been so generous in sharing my work through links and word of mouth. I really owe them a lot for any success I've had.
On top of this, Reuben Bresler and Lauren Lee were still working for StarCityGames at this time, and pretty early on they contacted me for their newsletter. So I owe them a lot as well for believing in me when I was still fairly unknown. Heath Newton from MTGO Traders was another person who helped me out quite a bit early on.
MTG R : That's wonderful you've had some early support. Have you had any recognition at all from Wizards of the Coast that may have validated your great work to date ?
CC : I've had a little, but not too much really. Trick Jarrett was nice enough to send me an encouraging email early on. Aaron Forsythe generously linked to me on Twitter. And Mark Rosewater has linked to me on Tumblr and Twitter when I mention him in my comics. It's really rewarding when people you admire so much and make this game you love take time out of their day to do things like this.
MTG R : That is pretty sweet. How are you drawing material or inspiration for your strips - local store, playgroup, online tournament coverage, etc. ?
CC : A little bit of everything really. I try to post almost every day if I can think of something, and this really means I have to look at every nook and cranny of Magic for humor!
MTG R : The strips are most definitely humorous and certainly put a smile in my day. I've been blogging (almost daily) at MTG Realm since 2008 and have (with some effort) tried always to be on the singular topic of the game - have you ever felt compelled to address non-MTG issues in your strips ?
CC : I definitely get this feeling from time to time. If you notice my comics, I've sometimes made connections with science or philosophy, especially early on in the writing. It would be to do more focus on this, but obviously this wouldn't really work in a Magic comic. In addition, there are often current events that I'd like to comment on (especially political things), but it just wouldn't be appropriate with my audience.
So for now I just add these non-Magic ideas to my notebooks, and hopefully someday I'll get a chance to share them!
MTG R : So what future projects or aspirations do you want to be realised ?
CC : For the most part I feel like I've hit a good groove. I'm been producing the comics fairly consistently and people seem happy to keep reading them.
In terms of future projects, I'm not sure what more I have time for. Drawing Cardboard Crack almost daily takes up quite a bit of time! I would definitely like to do some playmats or sleeves at some point, so hopefully this is something to look forward to.
Other than this, I just hope my audience can keep growing so that I can make Cardboard Crack more and more of my life. It's hard to see from the outside, but I really feel like some of my best weeks of comics are when I have more time to work on the writing. So it would be so amazing for me (and hopefully for my readers as well) if I could be able to consistently dedicate all the time I'd like to Cardboard Crack.
MTG R : Thank-you so very much - it was great yattering with you. All the very best to you in the continued success of Cardboard Crack.
If you've been loving the comics and are a fan of the game, check out some of the cool 'n' witty merch on the site, and when the WiFi goes down, go analogue like your forebears and pick up one of the truly outstanding bound collections filled these great strips and includes as a special bonus, a number of new comics never published on the Cardboard Crack website.